At least 31 percent of the Filipino children live below the poverty line with 63 percent of them come from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the United Nations Children’s Fund on Tuesday said.
At a news conference in Quezon City, Lotta Sylwander, Unicef Philippines representative, said a study entitled “Situational Analysis of Children in the Philippines 2017” done by the government, along with Unicef, showed poor nutrition in very young children is still a major problem, and that 33 percent of the Filipino children under five are stunted or too short for their age and 21 percent are underweight.
“Violence predominantly happens at home. [About] 27 percent are boy being abused. Parents and other relatives are the [common] perpetrators,” she said.
She said Unicef is also alarmed by teenage marriage, especially taking place in indigenous peoples community.
According to the study, “significantly, more children in ARMM are stunted at 45 percent.”
While access to education is encouraging, an estimated 2.85-million children from five to 15 remain out-of-school.
Also, at least two out of three children have experienced physical and psychological abuses.
Unicef said the Philippines has also failed to meet the Millennium Development Goals by the target year of 2015.
Social Welfare and Development Assistant Secretary Glenda Relova called on the government and the public to “join hands together to support and protect our children against any form of violence, rights violations, and deprivations, especially on their tender years.”
Meanwhile, Sylwander, along with Relova, rejected the proposal of Senate President Vicente Sotto III to lower the age of criminal liability.
“The law on criminal justice against juvenile delinquents is good. What we need is the strict implementation of the law,” she said.